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Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Little Mama is having a tough week. It's so hard to figure out if it's the stress or puberty. Lord help me when I have 3 teenage daughters sharing a room. (Please remind me how much I wanted them.)

Last night she asked me to tuck her in. I don't typically do this. I give kisses and hugs before they head to bed. When LM is in need of more or wants to talk shell make this request. I never refuse it because I'm so grateful we got to a point where she could ask for help.

She had family therapy and a visit earlier so I figured she wanted to process that.

Turns out she's having bad dreams. Mainly with the theme of becoming an orphan or her siblings dying. There is a definite "I can't save them" theme.

Poor thing cried. Her sister started crying. I cried too. So much pain. Jelly Bean stated it was her fault LM was crying because she told the teacher that called DCFS. We went over again, who is responsible. Who needs to make better choices. Who needs to keep them safe. Then we went over the options-orphanages not being one of them.

Then I looked into her eyes, down into her heart and told her she will ALWAYS be BOTH Mom's daughter, no matter what a piece of paper says.

Then she visibly relaxed and drifted to sleep in my arms. Another first I never thought id get with her.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Every. Single. Time.

I'm convinced that parents of multiple children have at least one child that is especially challenging. Growing up, it was my brother. My Mom has said if he had been first he would have been an only child.

It strikes me as incredibly unfair that I have a daughter just like my brother. You know since I was the good kid and all....

Now I understand the why behind the decisions Jelly Bean makes. I get that this little girl has had every type of abuse. I understand the PTSD and the ADHD and the mood disorder. I get she doesn't feel lovable. But it doesn't always help me to not feel frustrated that she just can't follow directions.

Every. Single. Time. She tests. She pushes he boundary. She tap dances on my buttons and nerves. I'm seriously going to pull my hair out.

The millisecond I give her an opportunity she makes the wrong decision and I have to ground her, take something away, follow through on what I said. I hate it.

Me: Jelly Bean you can go down the block to your friends house. You two can play outside in the back yard. Or you can ride bikes in front of the house with your sisters. When I call for you you need to come straight in.
JB: Ok Mama, thank you.

1 hour later I'm stalking through the backyards calling her name and getting strange looks from the other kids. Where was she? On a joy ride around the block, by herself.

That's what I get for being the fun Mom. The smart Mom should have made her stay inside and work on her research project or do the dishes.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Oh my magic pills

It's been a tough week. So tough that I've actually taken my anti-anxiety medication 3 days in a row.

Tuesday brought news that the foster parent's legal team (who abused Jelly Bean) sent an investigator to talk to Bio Mom. How he tracked her down I'm not sure but since he presented himself as someone from DCFS she spoke to him. At some point she felt uncomfortable and then stopped cooperating.

In the same call caseworker let me know that JB had made statements of "I want to kill myself" to her Mom at the visit Saturday. And of course no word from Bio Mom when it happened to us.

Ummm, may have been something to mention to us....

Then Wednesday I got a call from caseworker that Bio Mom was in the hospital and what were my thoughts about the kids going to see her in the hospital.

I managed to slightly censor my thoughts which were um hell no!

I could write an entire post about why I think hospitals are not a place for children and especially not a place for visitation.

In the end, we told her that she needed to take them or we would take them Friday because middle of the week wasn't best for the kids. She decided to take them and the kids handled being there fairly well.

It was the fall out at home that I was worried most about and that's exactly what I got. Math homework brought on tears about dying Mother's and nightmares about adoption.

Then I got the call that both JB and LM will need to testify in open court against the monster foster parent. Because jack ass that he is is taking it to jury trial.

Did I mention that this was also the trauma anniversary of JB being moved into that home? Let's just say the sheets were washed daily this week.

Normally work is my escape but this week has been awful and I'm having team issues with a girl I work with.

The great debate tonight will be do we take the kids to see their Mom since visits were cancelled and she's still in the hospital.

It's not a life threatening illness. The thought crept into my head though that I could only be so lucky and then I appropriately reprimanded and shamed myself for having the thought. I'm not as good a person as I think I am. (Maybe I should share that with the next person who accuses me of being a saint!)

Friday, August 17, 2012

1st week of school

Knock on wood we got through the first week of all 4 children in school all day. It was not without it's bumps in the road.

•It took 4 days to get LM on the correct bus.
• I got a phone call from a very concerned secretary that MM was only going to get cereal today because his balance isn't correct- somehow his free lunch got screwed up.
• 5 minutes before arrive to school in a downpour JB decided to tell me she had diarrhea. I did not handle this very well. She did not poop for the next 12 hours. When she did she came and I got me and I confirmed that her idea of diarrhea and mine are not the same.
• I had no less than 4 meetings for the kids this week. 3 on Thursday. 1 was a team meeting. Let's just say the idea of putting your children's needs is still something Mom needs to work on and she was basically ignoring us when we left the meeting. (Next weeks co-parenting family therapy session should be real interesting.)
• LM was put in the ESL language arts and literacy class instead of the mainstream class I expected her to be in. When her teacher called and told me there were only 11 kids in her class and that she herself was a foster/adoptive parent for the last 17 years I decided she would stay. I then offered to connect her to our on-line support community. :) I think she was also pleased to be speaking to another parent who knew what Rad was and understood that parenting traumatized children is different. Honestly, when she said she was a foster parent I didn't care what else she had to say. I just want LM to have people at school to support her.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Breakthroughs/Triumphs

• Mr. Mohawk went to sleep without threats last night.
• When I told LM we would talk about the issue layer as I could tell she wasn't able to at the moment she apologized for giving me attitude and told me she was having a rough day.
• Jelly Bean was praised and praised again by her sisters for the good choices she has been making. They TOLD her they were proud of her without being prompted, BOTH of them!
• Gabby told her therapists she feels that her Mom should have placed LM for adoption at birth. She feels LM got cheated out of a better life. She then felt guilty and they had a nice heart to heart which ended with LM telling Gabby "Sisters Forever"
• Gabby invited LM an JB to do another sister family therapy session (The last one ended with the therapists swearing never again because Gabby was in tears due to Jelly Bean being under the coffee table calling her an F***ing B**** under her breath.)

First visit of the school year and a team meeting tomorrow. Should make for an interesting week.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Born To Be Wild

So we were at the museum today. Hubby and Grandma had taken the kids earlier in the summer but myself and my Dad were unable to go. We felt the perfect way to end the summer would be a trip back down to the city.

The OmniMax movie playing is Born To Be Wild. It's about two animal rescues that take in orphan elephants and orangutans. The kids loved it the first two times they saw it and wanted me to see it this time.

Just before the movie one of the theater staff asked if anyone had seen an orangutan in real life. Mr. Mohawk raised his hand.

Me: Really? Your sisters didn't raise their hands are you sure?
Him: I was a baby. That was before I had peoples. I was by myself. Now I have peoples and I really like them.
Then he gave me a cheesy smile and a giant hug.


The movie starts out talking about the two women who started their respective rescue organizations. Then the following line was said:

It started with two women each making a promise that they would would care for the orphans only for as long as they needed them to.

Well that was it. Not even 30 seconds into the movie and I was crying.

The rest of the movie was really interesting and touched on the emotional need that the humans fill for the animals. It talked about the trauma the animals go through. Their inability to sleep, eat, and lack of "life" skills.

It was hard not to draw comparisons between what I was seeing on the screen and the four children next to me.

I too, am a woman who made a promise to love and care for children who need me. My status of a foster mom means I'm also making the promise to do so only as long as they need me.

The movie ends with the release of the animals back into the wild. The one woman talking about the mixed emotions she is having. Happy that she's done her job. Sad because the world is a dangerous place and she will no longer be there to protect them.

Yep. Pretty much sums it up. Probably for most mothers, foster or otherwise. But it's still hard. So words of encouragement to those Moms that have watched your children move on to the next stage- kindergarten, junior high, high school, college, marriage, adoptive placements, reunification.... Big hugs from me. Job well done.

For the LOVE

Nightly, I need to request, remind, threaten, and eventually yell at Mr. Mohawk to go to sleep. He is an active 5 year old with an equally active imagination. He's constantly talking to and playing with his toys. When we went to Disney he got a Mickey AND a Minnie doll because "Mickey needed a friend to talk to." Well that, and Daddy is a sucker for those big brown eyes and very logical arguments. (Mommy would have said, "or we can get no Mickey?".)

So it wasn't a surprise that 11pm I heard whispering coming from his room. "Mr. Mohawk! GO.TO.SLEEP."

1:45am. I wake up. Do I hear knocking? I jump out of bed. The dog lifts his head and Hubby doesn't even stir. Yep. Knocking. Then "Mommy?".

I'm coming sweetie pie. There he is. My rough and tumble boy tears streaming down his face. He can't catch his breath. His dream terrified him. What was it about? His brown eyes widen and the years escape them. A..a...crab. It was going to eat me and then it saw my really Mama and it grabbed her with its hands. And she couldn't save me. And then it started to come after me and I woke up. It was going to EAT me!

You're safe now baby. You're at my house. There are no crabs. You're safe.

He doesn't get them often but they are generally before he sees his Mom. And while I love my uninterrupted sleep, the importance of this routine motherly task is not lost on me. It used to be he'd wake up Little Mama. Time and consistency have changed that.

He can find comfort in my arms now. His breathing calms and his body relaxes as I rock him back to sleep. And for a brief moment I allow myself to imagine he was mine from birth. That nights of rocking him were common. I allow myself to forget that I'm supposed to be helping him LEAVE my home and go back to a mother that hurt him.

I imagine telling him he can sleep between Hubby and I tonight. Curling up with him in my arms and listening to his breathing become steady and deep before I go back to sleep.

But the state does not allow that. Instead I tuck him back into bed. And then sing the Italian lullaby that I grew up with, as his eyes get heavy.

I wake to find a beautiful Saturday morning waiting for us. I get him and his sisters up and ready for their visit. Upon Jelly Bean's awakening, it's announced she wet the bed.

It doesn't end....

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Visit with the Judge

So the kids met with the judge this week. She spent at least 30 minutes with each of the girls and 10 minutes with Mr. Mohawk and the rest of us. She saw the attention seeking and chaos on full display.

I didn't pry to find out what the kids told her but their GAL told me Gabby told the judge that when she told her Mom about the missed visit due to the birthday party Mom didn't talk to her the rest of the visit.... The kids also told her they are tired of having Saturday visits. They want to enjoy their weekend. We had already tried to advocate on their behalf for this and we're turned down. Maybe if it comes from them it will sound more authentic instead of the foster parents complaining. The sad part is the kids are right. Thy don't have time to relax and be kids and hang out with friends.

Up until last week we had therapy Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. With a visit Monday and Saturday.

This school year it will be therapy Tuesday, Family Wednesday, Visit Wednesday, individual visit Friday. 5 hour visit Saturday. With no return home in sight it's just a very hectic schedule for 4 kids plus homework.

They judge suggested alternating visits on Saturdays an another day. We'll have to see if anything gets changed.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Little Mama (8/2)

Dear LM,

12. 12! I can believe I am the mother of a beautiful preteen girl who is creative and loving. I'm so proud of the young woman you are becoming! I'm sorry you had to meet with the judge today and talk about difficult things. However, I'm very glad you and I got to spend all day together. The cupcakes you made were beautiful. How fitting that you wrote "family" on them considering how much you fit into ours.

You are a Daddy's girl. When he was in a foul mood yesterday YOUR creativity turned him around. Your stubbornness is just like his. So is your sense of humor. And man, you are also not a morning person!

Your willingness to help others and your sense of adventure make me think that sometimes I gave birth to you. But then you draw something elegant and amazing and I realize you are way too talented to be mine!

My prayer for you on your birthday is that you continue to heal from all the hurt. I pray that you get to a place of peace and that sometime soon the adults in your life decide to act like grown ups and protect you.